American literature of the 20c its trends. Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
His Life Born in Oak Park, Illinois Loved hunting, fishing, and boxing Rejected from service- WWI Moves to K.C.- Writes obituaries
His Life (cont.) Joins Red Cross Ambulance Corps. Italian front- wounded and falls in love with a nurse Married four times Shot himself in 1961
Fun Facts Most widely imitated author of the 20 th century Friends with Castro
Writing Style Short, crisp, sensual sentences Iceberg Principal: "I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate and it only strengthens your iceberg." Hemingway Hero - tough, lives dangerously, loves sports, sensual)
Novels A Farewell to Arms The Sun Also Rises The Old Man and the Sea For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) -American writer -Winner of Nobel Prize for Literature -A legendary figure in American literature
Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His father was fond of hunting and fishing, who often took young Ernest with him on his trips. His style of living as an adult and the fact that his books abound in sports terms are partly traceable to his early life (sports and primary writing).
Later he hunted and explored in the African jungles, and fished on the Cuban seas. During WWI, he served as an ambulance driver in Italy; During WWII, he first worked for the US navy and then acted as a reporter with the British Air Force. He was wounded many times and suffered over a dozen injuries to the brain. All these sports and war experiences became his subjects and themes later.
In World War I, Hemingway served as an ambulance driver working with the Red Cross in Europe. This led to the crucial happenings of his life. He was the first American to be wounded in that war.
His shattering war experience permanently affected his life and writings. In some sense, all his life, he lived with war emotionally and continued to write about it in order to relieve and forget it.
Back to America, he met Sherwood Anderson, his stylistic mentor. Acting on Anderson’s advice, he went to Paris, carrying Anderson’s letters of introduction to Stein and Pound, and he benefited a lot from their schooling.
As a journalist, Hemingway trained himself in the economy of expression. His use of short sentences and paragraphs and vigorous, positive language, and the deliberate avoidance of gorgeous adjectives are the traces of his early journalistic practices.
In Paris, Hemingway’s distinct style began to develop, with a Hemingway theme and a Hemingway hero. All his life, Hemingway wrote about one theme, “grace under pressure”, and created one hero who acts that theme out.
In In Our Time (1925), Nick Adams is a Hemingway protagonist, living in a world of violence, disorder and death, and learning the hard way about what the world is. His psychological & emotional wound is followed by a physical wound in the war. He makes “a separate peace” with the enemy and learns to endure as a man.
Most of Hemingway’s later works are a repetition of the Nick Adams stories. We feel perpetually assailed by a sharp sense of anxiety and fear as we subconsciously identify ourselves with Nick in our reading.
In 1926, he published The Sun Also Rises, which painted the image of the Lost Generation. Lost Generation: Young people in the US and the UK who were lost or disillusioned with the world. They were cut off from old values and could not come to terms with the new era when civilization had gone mad.
The Lost Generation The term “lost generation” was coined by Gertrude Stein, a lost generation writer herself, after World War I. It was between the first and second World Wars. Speaking to Ernest Hemingway, she said, "you are all a lost generation.“
The Lost Generation is a term used to describe a group of American writers who were rebelling against what America had become by the 1900’s. Seeking the bohemian lifestyle and rejecting the values of American materialism, a number of intellectuals, poets, artists and writers fled to France in the post World War I years. Paris was the center of it all. The term stuck and the mystique surrounding these individuals continues to fascinate us. Full of youthful idealism, these individuals sought the meaning of life, drank excessively, had love affairs and created some of the finest American literature to date.
Who are involved in the Lost Generation? F. Scott Fitzgerald T. S. Eliot Ezra Pound Gertrude Stein Ernest Hemingway John Dos Passos
In his another major novel, A Farewell to Arms (1928), the hero Fredric Henry goes to the war and discovers the insanity and unreason of the world. He becomes disillusioned and “embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice.” This book caught the mood of the post-war generation, and brought international fame to young Hemingway. He was the speaker and describer of the Lost Generation.
The Hemingway hero’s break with society becomes extreme in his books Death in the Afternoon (1932), Green Hills of Africa (1935) and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).
In Hemingway’s chaotic and meaningless world, man fights a solitary struggle against a force he does not understand. The awareness that he must end in defeat, no matter how hard he fights against it, engagers a sense of despair.
But the Hemingway hero possesses “despairing courage”. It is this courage that enables a man to behave like a man, to assert his dignity in face of adversity. This is the essence of a code of honor in which all the Hemingway heroes believe.
Between 1940 and 1950, critics all agreed that Hemingway’s talent was dead. But The Old Man and the Sea (1952) helped restore his literary image, which led to his winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
It is about an old fisherman Santiago and his battle with a giant marlin fish. Santiago hooks the fish in the sea; in the following desperate struggle, he manages to kill the fish, but he has to fight a more desperate battle with sharks, which eat up the marlin and leave only a skeleton. The old man brings it home, totally exhausted.
In Santiago we see again the spirit of the tragic but noble Hemingway hero, contending with a force he knows it is futile to fight with. He believes that “a man is not made for defeat…A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
However, the old man eventually realizes that he has met his doom, and he feels good to be in the human and natural world. This feeling of brotherhood and love for both his fellowmen and fellow creatures in nature shows that Hemingway’s world view has undergone a profound change.
Hemingway -- a legendary figure -He was a glamorous public hero, whose style of writing and living was probably more imitated than any other writer. -He acted out the theme of his books, and his public image was one of a tough guy whom even an air-crash could not kill.
During the 1930s and 1940s his non- literary activities were widely publicized. During World War II, he worked for the US navy in Cuba and then served with the British Air Force as a reporter. He took part in the landing of the Allied Force ( 盟军 ) on the French coast.
He was injured many times and survived three automobile accidents and two air crashes. From wounds in the war, 237 steel fragments were taken out of his body. In his later years he often behaved in an odd manner. Possibly because he could not write any more, or because he could not act out his code, or because of his ill health, he shot himself on July 2, 1961. With his death, an era came to an end.
All his works dramatize this concept: life is dangerous and always ready to defeat and destroy you, but if you stand on your principles, you may win on your own terms, though you get nothing except the knowledge that you have played well.
The typical Hemingway situations are usually characterized by chaos and violence, by crime, death, sport, hard drinking and sexual promiscuity. The typical Hemingway hero is one who, wounded but strong and sensitive, enjoys the pleasures of life (sex, alcohol, sport, etc.) in face of ruin and death, and maintains, through some code of behavior, an ideal of himself.
In the latter years of his life, he was known as “Papa Hemingway.” This compliment refers mainly to his contribution to the development of a new style—the colloquial style. Commentators all agree on the simplicity and naturalness of his prose, and its effect of directness, clarity and freshness.
He always chose common, specific, Anglo- Saxon, casual and conversational words. And he employed them in short, simple sentences, which are patterned, conversational, and sometimes ungrammatical. But his stylistic simplicity can often be deceptive, as it is highly suggestive and offers layers of undercurrents of meaning. Hence Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory”-- 1/8 is above the water and 7/8 is hidden below.
Reading him, we experience the immediacy and directness of a person wounded by a bullet and trying to talk before he dies.
Hemingway’s influence as a stylist was neatly expressed in the praise of the Nobel Prize Committee: “his powerful style-forming mastery of the art” of writing modern fiction.
Some important books of Hemingway’s: 1925: In Our Time; The Torrents of Spring 1926:The Sun Also Rises 1928: A Farewell to Arms 1932: Death in the Afternoon 1935: Green Hills of Africa 1937: To Have and Have Not 1938: The Fifth Column 1952: The Old Man and the Sea He also wrote a lot of short stories.
Warm-up questions: 1. What do you think of Hemingway himself and his books, plots and characters? 2. Can you imagine the old man’s appearance, character and life? When you read the following passage, think of three to five words to describe him.
Main works The Sun Also Rises (1926) A Farewell to Arms (1929) For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
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